Making the Grades
My husband likes Cat Stevens' melodies. Me? Not so much. Yet our different musical taste is hardly a deal-breaker in our marriage. However, an opposing opinion on a single song is one of the silly factors that interfere with a relationship in this story. There are plenty of other ill-conceived ideas about real life as well. Among them is the film's casual attitude toward sexual relations, pregnancy and childrearing.
At 37, Kate Holbrook (Tina Fey) appears to have everything the successful, modern businesswoman could want. She's climbing the corporate ladder, owns a well-furnished apartment in a trendy neighborhood and has her finances in order. But what the newly appointed VP of marketing really wants is a baby.
All her life, she's pursued promotions instead of a pregnancy. Now with the biological clock starting to wind down, the single career woman is getting desperate. After adoption options fail and fertility issues arise, Kate visits Chaffee Bicknell's (Sigourney Weaver) reproduction clinic in hopes of hiring a surrogate mother to bear her baby.
What she doesn't expect is Angie Ostrowiski (Amy Poehler), a gum chewing, junk food junkie who lives with her common law partner Carl (Dax Shepard) in a lower end neighborhood. After a brief and awkward one time meeting, the two women agree to a strictly cash-for-incubation business partnership. Unfortunately Kate doesn't do the same kind of market research on her child's carrier as she does for her boss's (Steve Martin) next store location. Shortly after implantation, the venture becomes much more personal. When Angie and Carl have a spat, the pregnant, hormonal woman shows up on Kate's doorstep for a tense and trying nine-month stay.
Kate's maternal desire for a baby is understandable. Yet, except for Kate's sister (Maura Tierney) and her barely noticed spouse, almost everyone in this film is making babies without the benefit of commitment. Even Oscar (Romany Malco), Kate's apartment doorman, has children from at least two baby mamas that he's had "relations" with but not relationships. In addition, the serious responsibility of parenting becomes little more than a laughing matter when the other potential parents portrayed include an anorexic homosexual who's afraid his baby will take after his chubby partner, a new-age dad who plans to eat the placenta as a way to bond with his child and a couple who worries their Wicca-practicing surrogate has them under a spell.
Making fun of foreign adoptions by celebrities, later life pregnancies, and hypersensitive safety concerns, Baby Mama is plagued with crude, sexual humor, profanities and alcohol use during pregnancy. Focusing on the business of making babies, the film neglects to address the work of parenting or the importance of creating a family.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Baby Mama.
How might Kate’s heavy career commitments impact her role as a mother? What are the difficulties of balancing work and home responsibilities? Are the challenges of parenting and single parenting addressed in this script?
What ethical issues might arise from some of the procedures used in this film? Does a sperm donor have any responsibility to the children he fathers? Should a child be able to contact a sperm donor? What difficulties might arise from surrogacy? What happens if a child is born with birth defects? What would motivate a woman to be a surrogate? Do you agree or disagree with the practice? Why?